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7 Nov 2019

Qatar: Liverpool FC declines FIFA's offer to stay in Kempinski hotel citing ethical concerns; includes FIFA comments

Ahead of the Club World Cup 2019 finals, to be held in Qatar in December, Liverpool Football Club has declined FIFA's offer of the luxury Marsa Malaz Kempinski due to ethical concerns.

A source from Liverpool FC stated to Middle East Eye that "the club was concerned by accusations levelled by human rights groups and newspaper reports that Kempinski had breached labour laws and not paid its workers properly."

Kempinski was put in the spotlight after a 2018 Guardian investigation found systemic labour abuse against staff working at the Marsa Malaz. Findings included instances of security guards being paid very low wages on long shifts in very high temperatures, and other staff being paid below the minimum wage in breach of labour laws. The Kempinski Hotel was previously surveyed as part of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre's 2018 survey on worker welfare in Qatar and UAE hotels. Kempinski initially did not respond to the request to survey, but later provided answers.

FIFA is organising accommodation for visiting teams and clubs and provided a response to the Resource Centre on Liverpool's decision and human rights due diligence on hotels. FIFA state that they are now focusing on operations related to the hosting of the Club World Cup and 2022 World Cup alongside worker welfare in construction. They also participate in a multi-stakeholder initiative alongside organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Qatari government and tourism businesses to "promote worker rights in the Qatari hospitality sector".